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Page last updated at 11:35 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 12:35 UK

Mazembe's 12th man

By Steve Vickers
BBC Sport, Harare

TP Mazembe fan
Passionate travelling fans like this one give TP Mazembe the edge

As TP Mazembe aim to become African champions for the first time in nearly 40 years, a contingent of travelling fans is giving them a boost in their away assignments.

The DR Congo side put themselves in a strong position to reach the last four of the competition after a 2-0 away win over Zimbabwean side Monomotapa.

A planeload of fans came from Lubumbashi on a chartered flight, including members of a large brass band, who drowned out the Zimbabwean supporters throughout the match.

"I want to make sure that TP Mazembe is the greatest team in Africa, even in the world," said one excited supporter.

The TP Mazembe fans will be heading for Nigeria next, as they take on Heartland in a game that could decide who finishes top of Group B.

Every time our supporters are playing music it's a good thing for us, we are very happy

Mputi Mabi, TP Mazembe player

Francis Kaba is one of the trombone players in the TP Mazembe band and works as a musician in a group at a copper and gold mine in Lubumbashi.

"On the football ground there are 11, but we make it like 12 players. We encourage them to play nicely," he said.

TP Mazembe were African champions in 1967 and 1968, and with huge financial backing from owner Moise Katumbe, the governor of Katanga Province, they are once again a potent force.

The team includes several members of the DR Congo team that won the African Nations Championship (CHAN) earlier this year, among them the player of that tournament, Mputi Mabi.

"Every time our supporters are playing music it's a good thing for us, we are very happy," Mabi told BBC Sport.

"Our objective is to win the Champions League."

TP Mazembe have an Italian coach Diego Garzitto and their strike force includes Zambian Given Singuluma.

And with many of the continent's big guns out of the tournament, such as holders Al Ahly of Egypt, TP Mazembe fans have a clear chance to end their long wait for African glory.

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see also
Kano Pillars defeat Al Hilal
30 Aug 09 |  African
2009 Champions League statistics
19 Sep 09 |  African
TP Mazembe look to CHAN winners
13 Mar 09 |  African
Atraco, Mathare into Cecafa semis
09 Jul 09 |  African
Mazembe plan bid for African glory
13 Nov 08 |  African

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